Tree preser­va­tion scheme aims to save green spa­ces

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews -

HALTON res­i­dents are be­ing urged to stand up for their street trees and take part in a new neigh­bour­hood watch scheme for na­ture.

The Wood­land Trust is launch­ing an ini­tia­tive across the coun­try to en­cour­age peo­ple to cel­e­brate trees in their area and help to pro­tect and value na­ture on their doorstep.

Run­cor­ni­ans and Wid­ne­sians are be­ing in­vited to join forces with their neigh­bours and ap­ply for one of 500 Street Trees Cel­e­bra­tion Starter Kits.

They will re­ceive bunting, badges and funky wheelie-bin trans­fers to show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their trees.

Project lead Joseph Coles said: “Street Trees face un­prece­dented threats. Be it cli­mate change, tree dis­ease, de­vel­op­ment or coun­cil bud­gets.

“How­ever, they bring a huge ar­ray of ben­e­fits to peo­ple – from re­cre­ation to com­bat­ing pol­lu­tion.

“With 80% of the UK’s peo­ple liv­ing in ur­ban set­tle­ments, street trees are their main daily con­tact with na­ture.

If we are to keep peo­ple con­nected with na­ture we need to pre­serve it on their doorsteps.

“Through the Street Trees project, thanks to play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery, we will con­nect peo­ple with the trees clos­est to them, of­fer­ing them the tools and re­sources to both cel­e­brate and pro­tect them, while rais­ing aware­ness at the high­est lev­els that street trees are valu­able and worth in­vest­ing in and pre­serv­ing.

“We need to en­cour­age peo­ple to cel­e­brate trees, what­ever their drive might be – so­cial co­he­sion, eco­nomic ben­e­fits, sen­ti­men­tal or sim­ply be­cause a tree looks nice.

“Peo­ple need to de­mand that their trees are re­spected and pro­tected”.

The ini­tia­tive has been funded through a £500,000 boost from play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery and aims to rally peo­ple to look af­ter threat­ened trees on their doorstep.

A re­cent re­port showed coun­cils are felling more than 50 trees a day na­tion­wide.

Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery’s head of char­i­ties Clara Govier said “Street trees pro­vide so many ben­e­fits to the com­mu­ni­ties where they are found.

“We’re de­lighted our play­ers ● are able to sup­port the Street Trees project, en­cour­ag­ing com­mu­ni­ties to cel­e­brate and pro­tect the trees on their doorsteps”

The scheme fol­lows a na­tion­wide sur­vey by the Wood­land Trust which shows al­most three quar­ters of city peo­ple want ac­cess to green space or park­land within walk­ing dis­tance from their home.

A to­tal of 78% be­lieve that trees are es­sen­tial for re­lax­ing and mak­ing them feel­ing hap­pier.

A sim­i­lar per­cent­age cited their im­por­tance for health and re­mov­ing air pol­lu­tion.

A spokesman for The Wood­land Trust said: “Ac­cess to greenspaces, be that parks, woods, or smaller ar­eas, was quite strongly agreed to be an im­por­tant part of liv­ing in ur­ban ar­eas.

“How­ever, peo­ple’s time com­mit­ments and the state or ac­ces­si­bil­ity of lo­cal greenspaces meant that the ac­tual num­ber of peo­ple vis­it­ing such ar­eas is lower than the as­pi­ra­tion.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.wood­landtrust.org.uk/ stree­trees

Cheshire peo­ple are be­ing urged to take part in ‘neigh­bour­hood watch’ scheme for street trees Pic: Jim Christie

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